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  • Desert Iguana Summary

    In this article, Mathew Baelor and C. O’Niel Krekorian studied the ability of the Desert Iguana (Dpisosaurus dorsalis) to detect chemical cues of predators via chemoreception. In their experiment, they used the California Kingsnake, which preys on lizards in the wild; therefore, making it an optimal predator stimulus. On the contrary, the researchers used the western shovel-nosed snake, a sympatric species to the California kingsnake, to test the general response of the iguana’s snake chemcials. Unlike the California kingsnake, the western shovel-nosed snake does not feed on lizards and only feeds on arthropods making it an optimal snake control stimulus. (Bealor and Krekorian, 2002). The researchers hypothesized that chemoreception is a salient aspect for the Iguanas in their daily lives to detect chemical cues from potential predators that are either hidden or out of site. Furthermore, they were interested in testing whether the iguanas were able to distinguish the chemical cues of the two, sympatric snake species as well as other pungent chemicals. The iguanas were housed individually in clear polycarbonate cages lined with sand and were exposed to four disparate chemical stimuli: Clean control, spraying distilled water on the sand in the test cage; Pungent control, spraying 1:5 dilution of Old Spice cologne; snake control, a live western shovel nosed snake inhabited the test box 20 hours prior to the experiment; and predator stimulus; a live California kingsnake…

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